I am not a renovator of a house, but a humble repairer, wise in duct tape, caulk, nails, spackle, wood filler—anything that will grease, cover, and glue to keep the structure together. While there are ample times of exasperation, there are emotions of satisfaction and cleverness as well.
The air’s too cool to paint
but the brush dips
and the blue thickens
the wood and along
will set just as well
as paint applied in heat,
and delayed in drying
I’ve got one more chance
to correct mistakes
before the work is done.
I paint the way my words
have come to shape,
and if I have no mild retort
for these advising friends,
silence may prove the better part.
The paint still dries upon the wall.
The joist whines like a child’s complaint
from the far back row of the schoolroom.
It is one more thing I don’t know--
how to nurse a house that requires injections
of repair to save its life. So I walk, it squeaks,
I jump, the joist persists like a joint
of the Tin Man needing oil from a can.
I thump the floor with a fist, one spot
and then another, while keeping my legs
positioned to one end of the whimpering board,
as if playing Twister by myself, and losing.
My toes try to isolate the spot precise, an X
in the carpet above the specific nail that’s lost
its head, as my wife has said, I am starting to do.
What Comfort There Is
Roof repairs fix one leak here, but like suppressing
a giggle in a classroom another forms unseen.
Albino termites and black carpenter ants
make dry rot into a formal affair.
Rebar moorings beneath the hot tub slouch,
the fireplace grout turns chalky lime,
and the truss serves as oxymoron—
Doors stick like old knees without meniscus
and floorboards spring like backyard trampolines.
Linoleum cracks and curls like saucers,
hardpan clay in a long drought.
How can this enterprise of decay in the day
bring such comfort in the dark
when an outstretched foot
knows the way around the floor by rut and rise,
and ear knows creak and crack
as beacons to comfort the half-awake?
©2016 Jeff Burt